John Phillips Ministries

Boaz Finds a Way

m2t on Aug 07, 2017

Love always finds a way. As the hymn writer puts it:

Love found a way to redeem my soul.
Love found a way that could make me whole.
Love took my Lord to the cross of shame.
Love found a way—oh bless His holy name.

"Love never faileth." That, says the Holy Spirit, is the nature of love. There can be no doubt that Boaz loved Ruth, right from the start, even before he actually met her there in the harvest field. "All the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman," he said (Ruth 3:11). He knew all about her. His heart was already stirred. And then he met her. The "servant that was set over the reapers" told Boaz who she was (2:6). In the Old Testament an unnamed servant is often a type of the Holy Spirit. It was this unnamed servant who made the introduction, that momentous face-to-face meeting at which Boaz's heart went out to Ruth. He gave her ample evidence of the state of his heart. He gave her an ephah of grain, ten times what she needed. He would marry her—in spite of the obstacles! And there were four of them, and formidable obstacles they were. But love found a way.

The first obstacle was the fact of a cursed race. Ruth was a Moabite, and the Moabites were a people under the curse of God. The reason was historical (Num. 22–25; Deut. 23:3–6). When the Hebrews reached the Moabite frontier, on their way from Egypt to Canaan, the Moabites opposed them. In fact, they hired a Mesopotamian psychic to come and curse them. When that failed, they corrupted them and then looked for God to curse them for their sin. God punished the fallen Israelites, indeed; but He also brought a curse down upon the Moabite race. But that was only part of it. The curse of the Law upon the Moabite people was but the fruit. The root of the curse went much deeper and ran back some 550 years or so. The father of Moab was Lot. Moab was the son incestuously conceived by Lot's oldest daughter on the hills overlooking the smoldering ruins of Sodom, and his godless descendants (the Moabites) became Israel's determined foes. But there was another obstacle for Boaz. It was the obstacle of a condemning rule, for the Law legislated against the Moabite: "An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter . . . for ever. . . . Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever" (Deut. 23:3, 6). That was indeed a formidable obstacle. Only the bringing into operation of a higher law (the law of the kinsman-redeemer) could find a way around it.

Then, too, there was the obstacle of a closer relative. Boaz had to be very careful in working his way around this obstacle. Two issues were involved. First, there was the matter of the property (the property of Elimelech, which was in limbo now that his sons, Mahlon and Chilion, were also dead). The nearer kinsman was eager to gain possession of that property.

Then, suddenly, Boaz raised the other issue, the matter of the person. The nearer kinsman could not have the property without the person. If he wanted to acquire the property, he also would have to wed the widow Ruth. He backed off in a hurry. He certainly did not want to wed a cursed Moabite. The last thing he wanted was to mar his family tree and spoil his hope of becoming an ancestor of Christ by introducing Moabite blood into his ancestral line. Boaz had no such scruples. His family tree was already "marred." His mother was the Canaanite harlot, Rahab.

Finally, there was the obstacle of a costly requirement. As kinsman redeemer he would be obliged to buy both the person and the property of Ruth. Redemption was a costly business. Boaz, however, was both able and willing to pay the price for he was a "mighty man of wealth" (Ruth 2:1), and he loved the Moabite widow with all his heart. So love found a way. The obstacles were swept aside, Boaz married the Moabite, and the stage was set for the coming of Christ.